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Calvados Apple Cake


Calvados Apple Cake—serves 6- 8


  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter softened or room temperature
  • 1 -1/3 cups
  • 1/8  teaspoon salt (I used sea salt)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (I whisked flour and baking powder in separate bowl before putting in mixture)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 Gala or other flavorful apples, peeled, cored and each cut into 8 slices (2 huge Honey Crisp is more than enough and it’ll probably grant you extras for a smaller cake for yourself. I used the 8 slice apple corer and then sliced the apples slices in 1/2 again.)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Calvados or apple brandy. (I used regular brandy but rum might be good as well)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon Turbinado Sugar for the top sprinkling (can be regular sugar as well)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Slice the apples and place in a large bowl.
  3. Mix the ginger, cinnamon, lemon zest and juice, and brandy in a separate small bowl and then place this into the apple slices carefully turning the slices over to get them all coated.
  4. Butter a 9-inch spring form pan, and set aside. (I used parchment paper and put the spring form on a pizza pan which was lined with parchment paper.)
  5. In bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (I used regular beater attachment), combine the 8 ounces (2 cubes) softened butter, 1 1/3 cups regular sugar and the sea salt. Mix until blended.
  6. Add the eggs and whisk/beat until smooth.
  7. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the pre-whisked flour and baking powder until thoroughly mixed.
  8. Fold into the mixture a few of the apple slices or bits, and spread the batter evenly in pan. The mixture will be very stiff so spread it around with a rubber spatula.
  9. On the top of the batter, lay the remainder of the apple slices (make sure these are quite thinly sliced) in a concentric pattern.  Sprinkle the top with the Turbinado (can be regular sugar or even brown as well) sugar. The cake will rise.
  10. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center of cake dough comes out clean and apples are golden and tender, about 65 minutes.
  11. Serve warm or at room temperature.

More Hints or descriptions:

  • This is a dense East European kind of cake.
  • Think about putting apricot jam glaze on top.
  • I made a lemon sauce to go with it
  • You can make this a day ahead, but don’t put a bowl over it; just leave it out and place some saran on it.
  • You can use a diversity of apples—sweet, sour etc.

Easy Lemon sauce

1 tsp. grated lemon, 1/2 C. lemon juice, 1/2 C. sugar, 1 Tblsp. cornstarch in a small pan; bring to a boil, turn to simmer for 2-3 minutes until thickened.  Add 1 tsp. fresh OJ.  Serve warm.





Baked Trout with Sour Cream Parmesan Sauce


 all in one pan end result


Baked Trout With Sour Cream Parmesan Cheese Sauce

Serves 4

I love Idaho trout and yesterday, I was in the mood for just that. I also was in the mood for an easy dinner fix and that’s what this was. I sliced some new baby potatoes very thin and added some olive oil and sliced onions plus herbs and put them in aluminum foil which I folded to close. I did the same for some broccoli crowns but you could have used squash, whatever. The trout I made as this recipe calls for and left the aluminum foil open. Into the oven it all went and voila, 25 minutes later a glorious meal. I made the trout with the larger amounts written for the sauce but actually wished I had only used 1/2 of the amounts because frankly that was too much sauce for me. So, that’s why I put the amounts of the ingredients the way I did. If you like a lot of sauce use the larger amount and if you are not a huge sauce person, go for the lesser amounts.


  • 1 pound trout fillets
  • 1/2 to 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Paprika


  • Place fish in a greased shallow 3-qt. baking dish.
  • In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, cheese, lemon juice, onion and salt; spread over fish. Sprinkle with paprika.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Making It Easy for Mom to Enjoy Her Family Here in Sun Valley


linzer torte Patty's Cookies 1 Chicken Marengo melange of oven baked veggies overnight scrambled egg bake

Above, some of the dishes served

This assignment was just what I had envisioned my catering services to supply.  Mom Robin J. was here briefly with her family of 7.  She has always done it all but wanted a break from cooking so as to be able to relax and enjoy her family more.  The following is the 7 day plan she and I came up with.  It was fun for me and I think that the family really enjoyed these dishes.  I cooked them all here in my condo and Robin came over daily at about 4pm to pick them up.  I wrote out directions for her as to how to serve, etc. I also gave her a soft notebook with all of the recipes. 

Easy food serving is the name of the game!!!!

Description of Catering for 7 Performed by Margot’s Table to Yours for the Johnstons

June 28th—Complimentary pint of homemade no-churn Mango Ice Cream and 1/2 a loaf of Strawberry-Nut Quick Loaf

June 28, Friday           Planning and Grocery Shopping                         4 hours

June 29, Saturday       Grocery Shopping; Pat’s Plumped                     2 hours

Raisin Cookies;Prepping

June 30, Sunday          Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes;                          4.5 hours

Overnight Scrambled Egg Bake;

Mélange of Oven Baked Veggies

July 1, Monday          Shopping; Mac&Cheese a la Italiana;

Bouillabaisse for 8 & Rouille                                 7 hours

July 2, Tuesday      Smoked Salmon w/ Endive Platter with                4 hours

Cream Cheese Dill Sauce, Bagels, Artichokes

and it’s sauce;

Fennel& Rosemary Beef Tenderloin w/Creamy

Mustard Sauce;

Pommes de Terre a la Provence in 8 Ramekins

July 3, Wednesday      Pat’s Plumped Cookies; Linzer Torte                  2.5 hours

July 4, Thursday           Shopping                                                                   0.25 hour

July 5, Friday                Chicken Marengo; Rice                                           2 hours

Total hours spend                                                                                           26.25

Linzer Torte and an option of mini-tortes and a bonus of Meringue Kisses


Linzer TorteLinzer Torte

Serves 8 (but don’t expect any leftovers)

Festive for anytime of the year


linzer torteindividual-mini-ltmeringue-kisses


Linzer Torte ( in a large spring form pan or mini kinds)

Serves 8 or makes 36 mini Linzer Tortes

Bonus recipe for no-waste egg white Meringue Kisses (makes 30)


  1. 1 ½ C. sifted flour
  2. 1/4 Tsp. salt
  3. 1 C. sifted sugar
  4. 1 C. sweet butter, room temperature –2 cubes
  5. Grated rind of 1 lemon
  6. 3 egg yolks (keep them separated in their shell half) and save the egg whites in another bowl
  7. 1 C. slivered almonds, blanched or un-blanched (I mostly use the blanched ones); grind them in a grinder( I use my mini-Cuisinart) and then add 1/2 Tsp. cinnamon and 1/4 tsp. ground cloves and grind the nuts with these spices a bit more.  
  8. 1- 10 or 12 oz. jar jam (NOT JELLY or it will leak like mad) of your choice. If you wish, you can mix in well 1 ½ Tblsp. Brandy in it.   Traditionally the torte was made with Lingonberries but you can use your imagination for whatever you wish however makes sure that the filling is of a substantial consistency.  I use the Red Raspberry Preserve bought straight from the store.
  9. Turbinado Sugar for light dusting before baking.
  10. Confection sugar for the final dusting just before serving; Fresh berries for final décor.                                                                                                            Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375F AFTER your dough has been refrigerated for an hour or more.
  2. In a bowl, sift the flour once more with the salt.
  3. In a larger bowl, cream the sugar with the butter with electric beaters until the mixture is light and fluffy.(about 3 minutes).
  4. Add the grated rind of 1 lemon to this mixture (juice the grated lemon for the meringues) and then add the 3 egg yolks (one yolk at a time) beating well after each addition. (Save 2 of the egg whites in a separate bowl and let sit at room temp to make easy and delicious meringues. See recipe below.)
  5. Gradually add the dry ingredients (in about 3 divisions for each) to the creamed mixture alternately with the 1 C. ground almonds which has been already mixed with the cinnamon and cloves.
  6. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for an hour or more. If it becomes too cold to be pliable when you remove it, leave it out for a bit and keep testing it for the right pliability.
  7. Prepare an 8”,9”,or 10” spring-form pan. This will take a bit of time so patience please. First measure the round pan pieces on parchment paper; with a pencil draw its circle and cut it out. Save the left over pieces to fit around the pan sides. Before placing the parchment paper in the pan, brush the bottom and sides with Crisco oil, then place the parchment paper pieces on the oiled bottom and around the oiled sides. Then brush the parchment side and bottom once more with Crisco oil. Then lightly dust some flour on the bottom and shake the pan all over so that the sides get flour dusted as well. Then carefully shake out any residual flour.
  8. First, before placing the dough on the bottom of the pan, save a fist full of dough for making the top decorative strips. You’ll probably want about 6-8 strips. (See picture above.)The remainder of the dough place on top of the bottom of your prepared pan. Then with your knuckles, gently spread the dough over the bottom and up the sides about one and a half inch up.
  9. Spread the dough with the jam of your preference. I use a rubber spatula to do this. If you have homemade jam, all the better—but no jelly please.
  10. Now is the time to roll with your hands several long thin strips to use as a lattice. Intertwine the strips so that it’ll look pretty when served and place each on top of your torte. If the strips break when placing them on top don’t worry—just combine them in any way to make a long strip.  Rustic is the theme here.
  11. Then, lightly sprinkle it all with Turbinado Sugar which will make the top look a little shinny.
  12. Place the torte on a pizza or cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper (not aluminum foil because of possible extra heat conducting).This is because your torte may possibly leak.
  13. Bake the torte in your preheated 375F oven on the middle rack for 30-45 minutes till it is golden brown on top and the jam is slightly bubbling. I watch it carefully so that it doesn’t get overdone and too brown because then the crust will be tough.
  14. Cool the torte thoroughly and then gently run a steel spatula or a sharp knife around the sides to make sure it’ll release properly after unlatching. Then place the torte, covered with aluminum foil or saran wrap, in the refrigerator for several hours or even overnight. It must be very cold to release properly. Then unlatch the pan and the torte should release easily. Then you can run a knife under the bottom or just under one tiny side just to make sure that it will lift. At this point, I can usually tip the torte (with the pan’s bottom still on) on its side. It should come apart easily. At this point you can tear off your bottom parchment sheet. Place the torte on whatever dish you wish to use to serve it. I many times use a Chinette plastic plate for the top and bottom which then allows me to wrap it well, store it in the refrigerator for a week or so or wrapped well in the freezer safely without fear of breakage. The torte freezes just beautifully and you’ll be hard pressed to notice it when serving it. Before last minute serving, if you wish, you can spread a little more jam in the holes and dust it all with powdered sugar. Then you can surround your torte with fresh raspberries which does present a nice look.
  15. You can also make mini-cupcake like Linzer Tortes. I use the mini-cupcake paper liners which I brush lightly with the Crisco oil and follow the same directions as for a large one. Bake them in a mini-cup cake pan from anywhere from 12 to 15 minutes in a 375F oven. Watch carefully so they won’t get overdone.  Use your middle oven rack.  One recipe will make 36 mini-cupcake-like Linzer Tortes.            


Meringue Kisses—makes about 30


  • 2 large egg whites @ room temp
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2/3 C. granulated white sugar



  • Preheat oven to 225F.
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a medium size bowl, with your electric beaters using the whisk attachment beat the egg whites at a medium-low speed until foamy.
  • Add the lemon juice and beat at medium speed until the whites begin to form soft peaks.
  • Add the sugar one third at a time, then increase the speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form.
  • With a spatula and a small butter knife to help slip the mixture off, pick up some of this mixture and drop onto your parchment covered baking sheet. Let your drops go upwards to form the “kiss” mode (like those chocolate ones).  The size can be around 2” circumference rounds. You should be able to place all of the kisses on a 17” X 12” pan.  Also, you can place around 4 or 5 across—they don’t spread much.
  • If you wish you can sprinkle sifted good chocolate unsweetened cocoa and a dusting of fun colorful cake décor sprinkles. (see picture)
  • Bake for about 60 to 70 minutes until they are firm to the touch and seem thoroughly dry.
  • Store the “kisses” in an airtight container for up to 2 months.




























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Peppered Corn Bread Muffins (or Skillet Cake)


Peppered Corn Muffins

Peppered Corn Bread Muffins

Makes 21 three inch muffins

 I wish that I could lay a claim to this really excellent and easy recipe—but sadly, I can’t.  I found it on the internet—as a skillet cake—and turned it into muffins for a breakfast catering job I had.  They are really good and very hard to quit at just one.  Honey is nice for an accompaniment however, plain is good as well.  They are easy to make and I used paper cups which worked just fine.


  1. Oil or spray oil
  2. 2 C.  medium stone-ground cornmeal
  3. 1/2 C. flour
  4. 1 Tblsp. sugar
  5. 1 Tsp. baking powder
  6. 1 Tsp. baking soda
  7. 1 Tsp. salt
  8. 1 Tsp. freshly ground pepper
  9. 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  10. 2 cups (real) buttermilk
  11. 1/2 C. sour cream (you can use the fat-free if you wish)
  12. 3 Tblsp. unsalted butter melted


  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. In a bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together.
  4. Blend the wet ingredients in the dry ones until blended leaving some lumps.
  5. Pour into 3-inch paper cup lined muffin tins and bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes—or till slightly browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the middle will come out fairly clean.
  6. Let rest for 20 minutes or so.
  7. Skillet Baked Option: Rub or spray a 10” an oven proof skillet with oil and heat it in the oven. Pour the batter in the skillet and bake the bread for 35 minutes—until risen, golden on the top and when a toothpick in inserted in the middle it’ll come out with a few moist crumbs.  Let cool for 20 minutes and serve in wedges.  Don’t forget to decorate the handle with a tied napkin.  Looks can be everything.

Brussel Sprouts and Artichoke with Green Olive Dip



Brussel Sprouts and Artichoke with Green Olive Dip

OK— this is not something for everyone, however, I like it so much that I wanted to share before the holidays.  This is a nice hors d’oeuvres that’s healthy and tasty.  The reason it’s not for everyone is because it consists of Brussel sprouts and olives.  Those two are not on everyone’s  favorite list.  But, they happen to be within my best loved list. Hope you might see my point.


1 large artichoke—Cook it your way or mine

As many Brussel Sprouts as you believe you may need

Olive Oil—3 Tblsp. for the roasting of perhaps one pound of Brussel Sprouts

Lemmon Juice—to taste


For the Dip:

1/2 C. chopped parsley

5 Tblsp. olive oil

2 Tblsp. sliced green olives with pimentos (you can buy a jar of them)

1 Tblsp. drained capers

1 Tblsp. lemon juice

1/2 Tsp. Dijon mustard or Dijon Poupon with horseraddish

1/8 Tsp. salt


To Roast Brussel Sprouts:

Pre-heat your oven to 400-425 degrees.

Wash and split the sprouts in 1/2 length wise

Mix 3 Tblsp. olive oil with some S&P and a squirt of lemon juice in a bowl large enough to generously coat the sprouts.

Line a high sided baking pan with parchment paper and place the sprouts cut side down in the pan, as many near the outer edge as possible without crowding.  Place in oven for 15 minutes.  No need to turn them over.  Test them for doneness and be aware that they will be very brown with some burnt edges after 12 minutes or so.   Don’t worry about the burnt edges—that’s part of the roasting veggies scenario and actually adds extra to the flavor.

The Artichoke:

With the artichoke, I cut the individual leaf ends off so that the thorns are removed; cut both ends (the stem close to the choke and also the very top off about 1/2 inch) and wash. I then place the artichoke, bottom up, in a steamer placed in a tall pot or just in the pot itself, with water that goes about half way up the artichoke.  In the water I add a dash of olive oil, a bay leaf, a garlic clove and a squirt of my favorite vinegar or lemon juice.  You can also add fresh tarragon or thyme.

In CA I lived nearby where these edible thistles grew in beautiful fields.  In  fact I had several plants in my very own yard so I garnered very fresh chokes that barely needed to be cooked at all.  However, here, transported, it usually takes a bit longer. I start watching the doneness at 20 minutes because overcooking an artichoke can create a mushy one and under cooking can create a very hard biting one. As well, I’ve found that the smell can tell you when they are done.  Cover the pot when cooking and steam it at least 15 to 20 minutes if truly fresh.  They are usually done when a leaf can be removed easily but make sure to taste.  A well traveled choke can take as long as 45 minutes to cook, however, if longer than that you usually have procured a very old choke.

Frankly, I like to eat my artichoke plain without any butter, olive oil or mayonnaise.  But if you so insist, a very simple combination of olive oil or melted butter with a dash of minced garlic, lemon juice and S&P will be perfect.  One more combination that I make and everyone loves is half or more cup of mayonnaise with a dash of curry powder in it.  Well, use your imagination.  That’s what cooking and eating is all about, isn’t it?

For easy access and printing of this and past recipes, visit Margot’s blog  Call Margot for personal cooking help @ 721-3551.

Margot is a self-taught enthusiastic & passionate cook. Having been an inn-keeper for 5 years at her own inn, she accumulated a lot of good recipes which she loves to share.

Spicy Meatball Curry


Spicy Meatball Curry

Serves 4

I loved traveling through India. It was so exotic and the people so loving. Also I thought that the food was terrifically good as well as healthy.  You just had to watch where you ate. Now, I often add curry and similar spices to my foods. Here is one recipe that I really think is tasty.  You don’t often think of India and meatballs since it seems to be more traditionally an Italian or even Hungarian dish, however, India has a myriad of recipes for their meatballs—some stuffed with hard-boiled eggs, others with dried plums and raisins.  So, here’s my take on an Indian Meatball Curry.  It’s a two step process with a lot of versatility and tasting as the dish progresses.  All depends on your taste buds.

Ingredients for the meatballs:

1 lb ground turkey (I use freshly butchered ground turkey, but if you insist, you can use beef or lamb)

2 chopped garlic cloves

Salt to taste

1/4 C. chopped fresh mint leaves

1/4 C. chopped fresh parsley

1 ¼ tsp. paprika

1 ¼ tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. coriander seeds (you can also use the ground variety; I prefer the seeds)

1/4 C. plain bread crumbs

2 Tblsp. olive oil

A 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated

4 Tblsp. chopped onion

Meatball direction:

Combine all the meatball ingredients and with damp hands, form about 24 meatballs.  At this point you can refrigerate them for several hours to have the ingredients meld but if you don’t have the time to do this, don’t bother.  They will still be very tasty.

Ingredients for the curry sauce: (This is the shortcut way and I think it’s very good and easy.)

One Kitchens of India Paste for Butter Chicken Curry in the 3.5 oz. package

2 C to 3 C water (or a bit more if you wish the sauce to be a little thinner and less spicy)

1 two inch stick of cinnamon

4 Tblsp. plain yogurt (I use the Greek kind and it can be either fat or non-fat)

4 whole cloves

2 to 4 heaping Tblsp. of medium heat Chipolte Salsa (depending how spicy you wish it to be)

2 or more tablespoons of currents or raisins

Sauce direction:

1. Put sauce ingredients in a large skillet and slowly heat on top of stove on medium heat.  Stir till all ingredients are well blended and simmer with a tight fitting top for about 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Then add meatballs in a single layer in the sauce and simmer with the top on for 50-60 minutes.

3. Shake pan occasionally or very gently stir being careful to not break up the meatballs.  I turn the meatballs over in the sauce very carefully about 3 times during the whole cooking time.

Serve with rice or Nan.  Top this dish with a generous dab of  yogurt to set off the spices and decorate it with some left over mint and parsley.